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Old 07-26-2017, 03:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I know Joan Baez is not exactly news to most music nerds, but she's news to me.
A couple weeks ago I bought the album "Volume 5" and it clicked with me right away.

Then, a few days ago, I bought this one on vinyl:



Just like the Cris Williamson LP, I just wanted the cover on my wall, since I don't own a record player.

Just that same evening, I listened to the track below on Youtube for the first time ever. My mind is officially blown.
I can't tell you just how much this digs into my mind and soul.
I found a cheap copy of the titular CD shortly after on Amazon because holy crap, I have to have this!



Consider this the last bit of Joan Baez worship for a while, probably.

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Old 07-26-2017, 04:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Recently, I discovered Shannon Wright. She's sometimes close to PJ Harvey territory, but there's something else going on too.
I got the album 'Honneybee Girls' recently and it's pretty good so far, although I've heard better songs of hers from other albums on Youtube.

My favorite so far is probably this song from the album 'Dyed in the Wool':



Of course, that means this album is totally on the "most wanted" list as well.

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Old 07-28-2017, 07:06 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Artist:Julia Fordham
Song: Italy
Album: Concrete Love
Rating: 6/10

I'm still figuring out how exactly to approach this journal, which is very apparent in how every post has different formatting so far. I'm thinking I probably want something a little like a formalized album review style and then a bunch of stream of consciousness posts about whatever songs I'm excited abouot at the moment on top of that.

Reviews won't actually be very meaty in any case. I want to keep text to a minimum and keep the focus on the music.

Anyway, on to the album.

I discovered Julia Fordham a while ago where I heard some of her vocal jazz numbers. I thought that's what she did as an artist, but as it turns out, she's more of an adult-contemporary, adult-alternative artist. This is not exactly my favorite musical territory, but I do find myself attracted to her voice and I do find her to be a well above averagely talented songwriter. Thus, I've been exploring her discography a bit and bought a few ridiculously cheap albums of hers and I'm just going to give a brief few thoughts on this one for now.

Basically, the album starts off really strong with the songs 'Love' and 'Italy'. Great, sensual vocals and some careful arrangements that I find very effective, if very subtle. It would be easy to dismiss this as dull music for housewives, but I really feel like there's something going on here worth admiring. I sadly can't post 'Love', since it's nowhere to be found on Youtube, but I did find 'Italy', so here you go:



This is not the sort of music that jumps in your face and spells out it's awesomeness in neon letters right away. It's a slow burner for sure, but I really find that this is a particularly well written song and the nuances of her singing really works well for me. her deep, soft voice is a thing of wonder and I really love how she's able to slide into these clear, beautiful higher notes very fluidly.

Sadly, this album devolves further and further into adult-contemporary schmaltz the further in we go. By the time track number 12 finishes things off, I'm feeling pretty disappointed. She's got better albums, believe me, but this one started off so strong and just slowly deflated after that. The first 5 tracks or so are good; the rest oscillates between varying degrees of 'ok' and 'meh'. A couple bonus tracks lifted things a bit again, but by the time we get to those two tracks, my good will is all but used up.

What's really interesting to me about listening to music like this is perhaps, oddly enough, how boring the genre usually is. Let me put it this way: It's like looking for gold nuggets in the unlikeliest of places. When you finally find one, you can't belive your eyes! Adult-contemporary and adult-alternative are generally dirty words in my eyes, but I have found several happy exceptions to the rule. I believe there's good music in every genre and I'm going to keep digging for ice cubes in the desert because of this.

Basically, I like Julia Fordham a lot, but the dull side of her discography makes it a bit hard to sell anyone on her merits.

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Old 08-28-2017, 08:00 AM   #14 (permalink)
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It's been a month since I posted something last. So much for doing this more regularly...
I'm not kidding when I say that I mostly manage to keep going because I know that Trollheart's beady,
disapproving eyes might be watching and counting contributions. Once he decides to stop doing a monthly
round up of journal posts, I think it's time to stick a shovel in it and no one wants that to happen.

I've been checking out a ton of different things, so I'll try and see if I can remember some highlights.



Following Anteater's lead, I've bought Nicky Holland's self-titled album. I'm listening to it for the first time as I type this.
Seems promising so far. Only momentarily a bit too adult-contemporary in style. Mostly, it's smooth and subtly jazzy in ways
that make it really appealing to me.
The Ladykiller is a fantastic song. Running Around is a good example of that sort of smooth laid-backness
I find very appealing about this album - but which I also expect would work like a deterrent for 95% of the users in here.
Maybe Trollheart could dig it? I'm not so sure.

I've been listening to some more Cristina Branco (I'm getting predictable, I know) and I've got no less than 8 albums
of hers since I discovered her just 2-3 months ago. Ulisses and Alegria are the two newest albums
that I got my hands on.
Trying to pick a standout track from two excellent albums, my thoughts immediately go to the first track on Alegria,
namely the song Alice no país dos matraquilhos . I'll try not to embed too many videos here but this one is a must-listen!
If you can't appreciate this, you need to work on your damn tastes. Just kidding, I don't really believe that,
but part of me wants to. It's just so... absolutely gorgeous... Give it a listen, or I'll come to your house and show you
the bottom of your toilet bowl.



In other news, Amazon informed me through it's endless stream of spammy newsletters that Joan Osborne is coming
out with an album of Bob Dylan covers.



It just so happens to be that I consider Joan Osborne among my favorite artists, but alas, I do so solely on the
strenght of her debut album, Relish.
One of the many excellent tracks on that gem of an album is the Bob Dylan cover The Man in the Long Black Coat,
so I figured that perhaps this album was worth giving a chance.
Maybe coming back to Dylan is exactly what I need her to do if I am to care about her new music.

Then there's all that music I've been checking out on Youtube. I don't own a single album with neither Gojira or Leprous,
but their newest music (from 2016 and 2017 respectively) is doing much more for me than any of what they've done previously.
I'll just post a link to a few of the tracks that have me considering actually getting their newest album:

Gojira - Stranded
Gojira - Silvera
Leprous - Illuminate
Leprous - From the Flame

Next, up; I bumped into an album from Frontiers Music that I actually think I might like... It might not shock you,
but it does shock me.
The Frontiers Music label is all about cheesy hard rock and AOR sounding metal and as such far from my cup of tea.
But this new album from Inglorious (it's named "II") is really hitting the spot. Holy crap, what a singer! Soulful,
nuanced blues rock crooning like noone really does well anymore. This singer is a real find for this band and
they would be crazy not to keep him. It reminds me of the much Underrated Black Sabbath album
Seventh Star where Glenn Hughes was on the microphone.
I like this. I really do.



Moving on to Laura Nyro, whom I up until recently still wasn't sure what to think about. I got the album
Christmas and the Beads of Sweat on CD and it settled the score; Laura Nyro is amazing!



It is worth mentioning that it's not actually a Christmas album. It's an oddly proggy (or perhaps just scattershot)
variant of what I've heard from her before, which means a lot of soul, gospel and folk influences mingling
together, and this time into something wonderful. The recording quality is audibly limited; producing crackles and hissing when
the vocals hit the top, but despite that, there's a fantastic vibe to this album. I won't post any track in particular,
but simply suggest that anyone curious enough takes the plunge and listens to the whole thing.

That's it for now, but I would like to do more before another month passes. It's not that hard and yet it is. Sigh.

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Old 09-03-2017, 01:55 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This evening I decided to listen to some Marillion, what with Trollheart having mentioned them several times recently and me being annoyed that I can't seem to recall what they sound like, even though their album covers seem quite familier to me. I think my sister owns several of these, or perhaps those are her boyfriend's CD's. Many years ago, I was visiting my sister for a few days. I was alone in their house for an evening, so I remember going through randomly picked CD's from the shelf and Marillion was among those I picked out. So I have heard some of their material, I guess.

Misplaced Childhood (1985)



I think this album cover must be famous. It seems very familiar to me. I listened to the entire album and pretty much enjoyed it. It did seem like the best songs were the very first on the disc (Pseudo Silk Kimono and Kayleigh), but I was pretty on board with the whole album none the less. At times it got a bit more prog than I prefer, but nothing too objectionably cheesy. Some times, solos or other guitar or keyboard details actually sounded damn good. I'm going to have take a trip through this album again some day.

Made Again (1996)



I'm pretty much just going by what albums are uploaded in full on YT for now, so this was next for me. I realized after a couple songs that it was live. They're really good live! It sounds very precise, vivid and full of life. Very good production on this live recording. The singer really has good command of his voice. I like brighter voices like his. He's like a higher pitched, more vulnerable sounding David Gahan crossed with Carly Simon.

I decided to only listen to half of disc 1 of 2 so I could go find something else from the band. Pretty good though. I can't mention a single highlight as such, but the songs struck me as generally pretty solid.

Fugazi (1984)


Turns out it's not easy to find their albums on Youtube, so this might be the last I'm checking out for now. This one came out one year before the first one I checked out. The singer sounds somewhat different on the first track, but I think it's the same guy.

Very 80's sounding booming drums. Sounds a bit like it was recorded at the bottom of a well, but that might be the Youtube upload, since it seems like the uploader recorded his LP playing out loud in the room instead of capturing the audio output feed directly with his computer.

The synths sound a bit corny here. A bit like the soundtrack to some 80's fantasy movie or something. Still, not saying it's bad, just that the album that comes after sounds a bit more sophisticated and nice.

I'm just going to let this album play out, probably also go through side 2 since I see he uploaded that too.

---

OK, so, that was my little Marillion odyssee for tonight. I liked a lot of what I heard. Hard to say whether they will really catch on for me, but they're nice enough to listen to. Favorite element of the band: Probably the singer. I like his voice and his upper register vocals. He reminds me a bit of both Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, but I like him better than either.
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Old 09-03-2017, 02:01 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Review Fugazi next.
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Old 09-03-2017, 03:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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And here I come with Marillion info!

First, Misplaced Childhood was their third and most commercially successful album and contained their two big hits of the time, "Kayleigh" and "Lavender" (their other was "Sugar Mice" off the next album) so that may be why you recognise the cover. You realise of course that MC is a concept album? That's why all the tracks flow into each other, and it makes it a little difficult to appraise tracks on their own. Still, I'm glad you seem to have enjoyed it. Definitely one of their better ones and the most commercial by a long way.

The singer on that one, and Fugazi, is called Fish (real name Derek Dick) and he lasted with them till the fourth album, whereafter he was replaced by Steve Hogarth, whom you heard on the Made Again album. I don't actually know that one but I see the second side is a full run-through of Brave, their 1994 effort and one of my alltime favourites of theirs, my number being their debut. After Fish left Marillon toned back on much of the progressive rock elements and turned in a more kind of pop/rock direction, which you probably noticed on Made Again. Brave is their darkest album, another concept album, centred this time around child abuse, and well worth looking into.

I'm glad you didn't dismiss them out of hand. Their earlier efforts are very Genesisesque, yes, but I don't mind that. They certainly evolved a little over the span of their career. And yes, Fish comes from the Peter Gabriel/Peter Hammill school of singers.
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Old 09-04-2017, 12:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
And here I come with Marillion info!

First, Misplaced Childhood was their third and most commercially successful album and contained their two big hits of the time, "Kayleigh" and "Lavender" (their other was "Sugar Mice" off the next album) so that may be why you recognise the cover. You realise of course that MC is a concept album? That's why all the tracks flow into each other, and it makes it a little difficult to appraise tracks on their own. Still, I'm glad you seem to have enjoyed it. Definitely one of their better ones and the most commercial by a long way.

The singer on that one, and Fugazi, is called Fish (real name Derek Dick) and he lasted with them till the fourth album, whereafter he was replaced by Steve Hogarth, whom you heard on the Made Again album. I don't actually know that one but I see the second side is a full run-through of Brave, their 1994 effort and one of my alltime favourites of theirs, my number being their debut. After Fish left Marillon toned back on much of the progressive rock elements and turned in a more kind of pop/rock direction, which you probably noticed on Made Again. Brave is their darkest album, another concept album, centred this time around child abuse, and well worth looking into.

I'm glad you didn't dismiss them out of hand. Their earlier efforts are very Genesisesque, yes, but I don't mind that. They certainly evolved a little over the span of their career. And yes, Fish comes from the Peter Gabriel/Peter Hammill school of singers.
I'm checking out some of their Steve Hogarth albums when I come back to Marillion again eventually. They're one of those many bands that seem very familiar to me - like I've heard about them a lot and know their album art and band logo - but somehow I don't really know the music.

I did see Youtube suggest several 'Fish' albums, so now I can see why.

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Old 09-04-2017, 12:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Fish's solo stuff is good, but kind of really only if you are/were into that phase of Marillion. It's not like they're a continuation of the 1982-1987 era, but they're certainly nothing like the current, Hogarth-helmed Marillion. One of my favourites from that era.
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Old 09-04-2017, 04:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
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If you want any Marillion or Fish recs, let me know. I'll point you in the right direction.
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